ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said the international ratings agencies are optimistic about Pakistan’s economic performance and predicting Pakistan to emerge as one of the fast growing economies in the World in upcoming years.
While addressing a conference on “Redefining prosperity paths in changing global economy: opportunities and challenges for Pakistan” organized by Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) in Islamabad, Sartaj Aziz said that the real growth domestic product (GDP) growth was 5.3 percent in 2016-17 which is highest in last nine years due to improvements in energy supply along with security situation, two key bottlenecks which were holding back the performance of the economy.
Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan’s economy has seen noticeable turnaround in last four years as a result of cumulative impact of macroeconomic and structural reform program. He said that as a result deficit from eight percent in 2012-13 to below five percent in 2016-17 and brought inflation to a single digit.
The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission also said that Pakistan successfully executed $1 billion five years Sukuk and $1.5 billion 10 years Eurobond transactions at a profit rate of 5.625 percent and 6.875 percent respectively and this reflects the confidence of global investors in Pakistan’s economy.
In redefining paths for the future, Sartaj Aziz said it is important to carefully analyze the dramatic changes that are taking place in the World economy as economic dynamism has shifted from advanced economies to emerging markets.
Quoting example of Chinese economy, he said that China is re-balancing its economy from manufacturing to services, investments to consumption, from exports to domestic services and this means slower but more sustainable growth path.
Moreover, the major economic powers including the United States and European Union are facing structural issues of aging populations, growing debts, weak financial institutions and global financial crisis which has brought about a shift in policies that will allow a greater role to the public sector in steering the national economies.
The Deputy Chairman said that due to rapid transformation of the global economic order, it is necessary for Pakistan to reposition itself in the world economy and Pakistan’s outlook for economic growth is favorable due to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investments, improved availability of energy, and growth supporting-supporting structural reforms.
Sartaj Aziz further said that Pakistan possesses fundamental advantages that can be harnessed to prepare the economy for leadership role in global economy by becoming a regional food basket and an engineering hub.
Now under CPEC there is great potential for industrial and agricultural development as both sectors are major contributors to Pakistan’s GDP, he said. Moreover, nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) along with CPEC routes would help both sectors to increase their productivity as per their potential.
“We need political stability, national unity and a sound macroeconomic policy framework to take full advantage of the opportunities,” he added.